Tags

, , ,

13· But what is the cause of this praise from men and angels together and this much-extolled good news which so gladdens the shepherds and all men? “Behold”, it says, “I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people” (Luke 2:10). What does this mean, and what is this universal joy? Listen to the Gospel song to the end and you will understand. “Peace,” it says, “good will toward men” (Luke 2:14)· For God, who was angry with the human race and subjected it to terrible curses, has come in the flesh, granting His peace and reconciling them to the heavenly Father. Behold, says the hymn, He has not been born for us angels, though now that we see Him on earth we extol Him as we do in heaven, but for you men, that is to sav, for your sake and in accordance with your nature a Saviour is born, Chris; the Lord, in the city of David.

14· What is meant by linking God’s good will with peace? “Peace”, it says, “good will toward men”. There were times before when He gave signs of peace to men. To Moses “the Lord spake, as a man speaketh unto his friend” (Exod. 33:n); and He found David a man after His own heart (1 Sam. 13:14, Acts 13:22); and He granted tokens of peace to the whole Jewish nation when He came down upon the mountain for their sake and spoke to them through fire and the thick dark cloud (Exod. 19:9, 16-18, Deut. 4:10-11), but not according to His good pleasure. For good will refers to that which is in and of itself well-pleasing, the original and perfect will of God. It was not the original and perfect will of God that He granted benefits, and not even perfect ones, to certain men or to one nation only. That is why, just as God called many people His sons, but there is only one in whom He was well-pleased (cf Matt. 3:I7; 17:5), so He gave His peace on many occasions, but only once accompanied by His good pleasure, which He grants, perfect and unchanging, through the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ to every race and to as many as desire it. — St. Gregory Palamas, Homily Fifty-Eight on the Saving Nativity According to the Flesh of Our Lord and God and Savior

God does not desire for His creation to be separated from Him. He does not desire us to be subject to the terrible curses of decay, disease, pain and death. He does not desire to be angry with us. It is His Good Will to be well pleased that Christ has taken on all our humanity so that we might be with Him — that we have the means to enjoy His eternity. He never desired only a few chosen to enjoy his favors. He never desired for only one nation to be with Him to eternity. His wish is for all people of all nations to have access to Him. We have this in and through the Incarnation of Our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ:

There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. — Galatians 3:28

Come, let us rejoice in the Lord as we declare this present mystery. The middle wall of partition is broken asunder; the flaming sword is turned back, the Cherubim withdraw from the Tree of Life, and I partake of the Paradise of Delight, whence I was cast out before through disobedience. For the identical Likeness of the Father, the Express Image of His eternity, takes the form of a servant, and without undergoing change He comes forth from a Mother that knew not wedlock. For that which He was, he has remained, even true God; and that which He was not, He has taken upon Himself, becoming man out of love for man. Unto Him let us cry: O God, Who art born of a Virgin, have mercy on us. — Stichera from Great Vespers of Christmas

Amen. Amen. Amen.